Thursday, May 31, 2012

i wanted to be good

Seventeen hours of traveling, four airports, five checked bags, twin boys that just turned one, and a three year old.

More on the flights later.

However, I always want to remember how good Cece was on this leg of the trip! I mean-a rock star!

In the elevator at the Washington Dulles Airport, we were telling Cece how proud of her for how good she had been on the trip so far!

She responded matter-of-factly, "oh, that's great because I wanted to be good!"

Oh, she's so stinkin' awesome!

Here she is just a few hours later-poor thing; so tired!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

things here are different: i find it amusing

Living in the Czech Republic is not living in the jungle, frankly the stories that one could tell living in Northern Minnesota might be more book worthy than my stories. However, things happen every once in awhile, and I just find myself chuckling, not because they are bad necessarily, but they are different than, say life, in Central Minnesota.

I took Cece to the doctor in the states several times for regular check ups her first year of life, and while I don't remember loving it, I don't remember it being a big deal. Well, bringing my boys the doctor here is a little more of an adventure than I would like it to be.

First, I usually need to bring someone with me to translate and to literally help to carry/hold one of the boys. This time Connie graciously agreed to go with me. Also, most times the appointments are in the afternoons, and so Brian works from home while Cece naps, and I take the boys to the doctor. Well, I didn't invite him to the event on the calendar, so he didn't know the boys had an appointment, and so Brian had a meeting. No big deal, really.

Connie arrives here, we load the kids up, and we go. The thing that made me want to write this post is that when we are pulling into the doctor's office through a very narrow passage way into a parking lot with two spots, Connie says, "if your friends in the states knew about your visits to the doctor, they would find this amusing." (I hope you do.)

I park the van next to the building, since the parking spots were taken, and we lug the three kids up to the second floor. When the nurse calls us into the office, we take our shoes off outside the door.

The doctor's office and the examining area are usually in the same room here in Czech. Not that this experience is subpar by any means, it's just different; therefore amusing. Upon walking into the office, I suddenly remember that we usually have to pay for some of the vaccinations (mostly, because I request to have all the same ones as in the states, and not all of those are standard here). I also remember that I have no cash in my wallet.

I say this to Connie. She doesn't translate, quite yet. I ask Connie if I can just leave her with the kids and go run and get cash. Connie is totally fine with that, the mother of three (now much older kids), it's like no big deal to her. However, she is holding Gabe, and I am holding Alex, so I give Cece a quick be really helpful speech, and I literally set Alex down on the floor and jet out of there.

I quick get into the van and carefully maneuver my way out of the narrow passage way, while calling Brian on my cell because I have no idea where the closest ATM is. I notice that I'm driving behind a police officer, so I put my phone down and slow down. Brian doesn't answer because he's in a meeting. I then try calling the most helpful person I know in all the Czech Republic, Petr.

Petr answers; he might be in a meeting too for all I know, but as I explain to him that I just left my three kids in the doctor's office with Connie, he says he has time to help me.

As I think back to this conversation, I am so amused because it is so different than the way it would have gone if I lived in the States.

First, I have no idea what the names of any streets are over here. They are usually posted on the sides of buildings, so it's not like you just look at the street corner and say where you are. In fact, I use words like, "I just went through the two circles." "I'm heading toward Cesky Tesin." As soon as Petr uses the McDonalds as a landmark, I am with him. I know the direction that I should head.

Another amusing thing is that when he explains where I should turn, he says, "You have priority, but be sure to look, just in case." He means that the road I will take is the priority road, meaning that I can just go, I don't have to stop and look for cars, but it's kind of a tricky turn, so I should be careful to look for cars anyway. He also gives me directions based on train tracks and he says something about the trains that come from Cesky Tesin. Has anyone every given you directions based on train travel? Well, I know exactly what he's talking about. I'm really thankful I'm on the phone with him; he's giving me directions and keeping me from having a car accident!

So, I find the ATM, park the car, run into the bank, and open my wallet to discover that Brian has taken my ATM card. Why has Brian taken my ATM card? Not because he can't find his. Brian has taken my ATM card because the exchange rate is really good right now, and he can take twice as much cash out if he has both our cards.

Okay, annoying, but I remember that he did ask me last night if I needed my card for anything. I am flustered now. I hop back in the car and find myself a little sick to my stomach when I think about having to ask Connie to ask the doctor if we can bring the money tomorrow for the vaccinations they have likely already given.

I drive carefully through the narrow passage way yet again, this time squeezing through two cars to park next to the building. I run up the stairs and have to knock on the door for them to let me in. I explain to Connie that Brian has my card, she translates. Thankfully, the nurse is super nice, and says that we can bring the money tomorrow, but reminds me (through Connie) that the amount was written down on the card that has my appointment time. What the nurse and the doctor must say about me when I leave there (rightfully so)!

So, that's my experience taking the boys to their one year check-up (they are both healthy and doing great, by the way). Again, nothing bad, necessarily, except for maybe poor Connie who essentially handled my twin boys' appointment by herself. Just amusing!

Here are some pictures of the doctors office. These are from the boys' six month check up, so the Gabe is bigger now, but the office is the same:


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

mom of these three

Oh, my stinkin' goodness! Look at the three kids I get to be the mom of.


I love this picture for so many reasons. First, notice the crinkles in Alex's forehead, straight down the gene pool from Dave Gaalswyk. Second, Cece's skin is just so gorgeous, I'm not sure what to do with myself when I look at her, all the time, every day! Third, you can't totally see Gabe's face, but he is ready to tell the world what he thinks-yeah, we're takin' pictures over here, do you have a problem with that?

I just love our kids. I'm not sure I could say it enough!

Friday, May 11, 2012

it costs something

We have served as missionaries with Josiah Venture for two years now. Let me tell you, I miss my family so much sometimes that I feel physically ill. Now, I've just made my mom cry, probably Brian's mom too.  Because when I say "family", I mean his too. In fact one of Brian's sisters usually just tells people that I am her sister, until it gets confusing, then she just tells them that I married her brother, and she likes me better!

Okay, maybe Brian's mom is laughing now; my mom is probably still crying! But, it's true, I miss them like crazy. One of my brothers hasn't even met my boys yet, and none of Brian's siblings have! 


On the other hand, when I say that I love living here, I really mean it. We have a great life, and we feel honored to be serving with JV. I still miss my family, though, and I miss my dear friends.

Today, I was on a walk. Now, when you see these pictures, if you're like my other my brother, you might think, Buck up, Aleisha; you live in an incredible place. It's true! It's incredible (in the summer)! However, I still miss people, so much that it hurts, really hurts.


However, today, on my walk with my sleeping boys, I was reminded of the reality that it costs. It costs to be a missionary. That's just true. And, my Father in Heaven knows that it costs, but He is still asking me to be here. I walked by house after house, and I thought about what it means to be a part of the work God is doing in this part of Europe. I am glad that I am here.

Jesus is really teaching me about living in community with people as we serve Him. It costs something though, but I wouldn't have it any other way.